Review: Confusions, by Colyton Theatre Group

A scene from Alan Ayckbourn's Gosforth's Fete, by Colyton Theatre Company

A scene from Alan Ayckbourn's Gosforth's Fete, by Colyton Theatre Company - Credit: Fletcher Davis

Colyton Theatre Group created a great evening of drama and comedy with three short Alan Ayckbourn plays. They were well cast with believable characters adding realism to the pieces. Simple but relevant sets informed the audience before the actors appeared and were cleverly managed to enable an almost seamless change from one to another. I say 'almost' because between the first, a chaotic living room, and second, a single park bench, two useless backstagers parodied the scene change and added more fun. 

Dialogue is one of Ayckbourn’s strengths and the cast of Mother Figure dealt with some very tricky exchanges beautifully. Each character, Lucy, (Steph Letten) an isolated young mother visited by neighbours Rosemary (Karen MacGarvie) and Terry (David Tollafield) whose marriage was in a rocky state, was well portrayed with great expression and variety of delivery. The dark underscore of this piece was appreciated and well handled. 

A scene from A Talk in the Park by Colyton Theatre Group

A scene from A Talk in the Park by Colyton Theatre Group - Credit: Fletcher Davis

A Talk in the Park featured a lone park bench in front of the curtain with four characters Arthur (David Tollafield) Beryl (Jenny Eagles) Doreen (Sue Whittell), Charles (Adam Owen-Jones) each alternately playing someone who chatted endlessly and someone trying to escape them. It reminded everyone of uncomfortable situations when we are too polite to get up and go. Each actor was particularly impressive when playing the listener with familiar uncomfortable looks and fidgets conveying their desire to get away. 

A scene from Confusions by Colyton Theatre Group

A scene from Confusions by Colyton Theatre Group - Credit: Fletcher Davis

Gosforth’s Fete is a popular choice for a farcical element and it didn’t fail to please. The set worked well and the nonsense of the piece grew nicely. Particularly impressive were the sound and lighting effects which were realistic and spot on cue. The audience were convinced they’d need umbrellas when leaving! This was another well cast play with characters which were recognisable if you’ve ever organised a fete or similar. Gosforth (Adam Owen-Jones) was dominant and believable, Millie (Debbie Meakin) the perfect put-upon tea-maker turned lover, Mrs Pearce, (Tish Wells) the local councillor we’ve all met and the vicar (Sue Whittell) wisely cast as female and very effective. With Stewart, (Kevin Davis) the cuckolded Scout leader’s increasing inebriation and public announcements of affairs this could have been chaotic, but timing and careful direction gave us a hilarious end to the evening. 

Adam-Owen Jones and his team gave us quality entertainment as we munched our picnics. Make sure you get to the next production from Colyton Theatre Group. You won’t be disappointed.